THE most telling stat from the Dragons tense derby win against the Scarlets at Rodney Parade on New Year’s Day arguably came in the 73rd minute when Sam Costelow chalked up a missed kick for the visitors.

However, Dai Flanagan’s side had gone through 15 phases in defence before that shot at goal, pinned inside their 22 after Ioan Lloyd’s line-break.

Jared Rosser’s scrambling tackle on Kieran Hardy and the efforts after it meant that the Scarlets failed to get a match-winning try and meant Costelow had to line up a routine kick that he pushed wide.

The Dragons were embarrassingly porous against Cardiff at the Arms Park on Boxing Day when they conceded seven of nine tries in the first half.

A response to that shambolic 55-21 defeat was always likely against the Scarlets and the horrendous weather changed the types of threat they would face.

However, the stats from New Year’s Day highlight some huge performances from individuals to go along with the headline team stats of 159 tackles made and a success rate of 90 (113 made and 79 per cent success in Cardiff).

Flanagan made a big call by starting with James Benjamin at hooker and the former flanker produced his best performance as a front rower.

The 29-year-old was the leading tackler with 20 (one miss), carried five times, did well at the set piece and put in one thunderous shot at a ruck to turnover possession.

South Wales Argus: GRAFTER: Dragons flanker Dan LydiateGRAFTER: Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Dan Lydiate was second on the Dragons’ tackle chart with 17 made, including the key one on Vaea Fifita on the line before Costelow’s unlucky moment.

However, the man who took the bronze for tackling was Rhodri Jones after a remarkable effort off the bench.

The loosehead was one of those that needed to react to the Boxing Day hammering and he did just that.

Argentina international Rodrigo Martinez got the start and produced an impressive performance for 49 minutes, taking it to Sam Wainwright at the scrum.

He was replaced by Jones, who promptly flung himself around the park for half an hour against his former side.

The prop made 16 tackles without a miss in his cameo, a stat made all the more remarkable by the fact the ball in play time was 13 minutes.

Jones and the three fellow forwards that came off the bench – tighthead Leon Brown, lock Ryan Woodman and flanker Ollie Griffiths – combined for a tackle count of 42.

The Dragons are ranked 13th in the URC for discipline after 93 penalties in nine games but they earned Flanagan’s praise after they conceded just eight against the Scarlets, with four of them pinned to Brown as the Scarlets put the squeeze on at the scrum.

Aaron Wainwright won the official man of the match award after eight carries for 40 metres (10 post-contact), beating two defenders and putting in 14 tackles.

And one final stat to toast – Griffiths made 51 kicking metres when he put boot to ball to clear when the ball came loose at the death.

Given it was only 11 seconds past the 80 minutes and he was under pressure from Hardy and Jac Price, the back rower can be forgiven for not finding touch… especially as he can up with the match-clinching rip on 81:21!